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This course is a collection of short Photoshop and Illustrator projects and creative effects that can be completed in ten minutes or less. The series is taught by computer graphics guru Deke McClelland, and presented in his signature step-by-step style. The intent is to reveal how various Photoshop and Illustrator features can be combined and leveraged in real-world examples so that they can be applied to creative projects right away.
In this movie I'll show you how to create this refraction effect, so that the wood grain appears to be distorted by the water droplets. We'll be doing so by designing a custom displacement map. Go and switchover to the image as it appeared at the end of the previous movie. And the first thing we need to do is crop the image. I will go ahead and scroll upwards so you can see why we needed that extra 100 pixels width of canvas, because right here at the top of the image and on all the sides as well, we can see the edges associated with the Layer effects.
So, at this point we want to go and hide them, and you do that using that same command, so you go upto the Image menu and you choose the Canvas Size command and then make sure you're working in pixels and that the relative checkbox is turned on, and change both the Width and Height values to -100 pixels like so, and then click on the OK button. If Photoshop warns you that some clipping may occur, just click Proceed, because that's not actually the case, you are not going to lose anything. And you can see that those aberrant layer affects now go away, because they're hidden outside the canvas area.
Next thing we what to do is build our Displacement Map and you do that by Ctrl+Clicking or Command+Clicking on the thumbnail for the drops layers to load it as a selection. Then go up to the Select menu and choose to Save Selection command and we want to change the Document to New, so that you're saving the selection to a new image file and then click OK. You'll end up seeing this new image file here. Now at this point, if you take a look at the Channel panels, you'll see that we've got a single alpha channel.
If you want to make this image a little more flexible, go up to the Image menu choose mode and choose Grayscale, and that will change the name of the channel to gray and we now have a black and white image. Where Displacement Map is concerned, white is going to displace in one direction and black is going to displacement in another direction. We only want to displace the white stuff, so we need to make the black stuff gray. Also we want to make sure that we're displacing well within the drops, and that we have some softness associated with the Displacement Map as well. So, the first thing we want to do is grow the black areas and you do that by going up to the Filter menu, choosing Other and choosing Minimum, Minimum goes ahead and expands the size of the Minimum Luminance level which is black.
In our case we want to change the Radius value to 6 pixels, ends up working out quite nicely, and then click OK. And that way all the white pixels, which will ultimately be responsible for the refraction, are scooted in, so that they're well inside the water drops. Now you want to soften the transitions by going up to the Filter menu, choosing Blur and choosing Gaussian Blur. And you want to set this Radius value to about twice, almost twice as much as you have for the minimum value, and in my case I found that a Radius 10 pixels worked out nicely, then click OK.
Finally, you want to make the black pixels gray, by going up to the Image menu choosing Adjustments and choosing the Levels command, or we can just press Ctrl+L or Command+L on the Mac. And change this first Output levels values to 128 and that'll make all the blacks stuff gray and leave the white stuff nice and white. Now I'll click OK. Now you want to save this guy off as a Displacement Map. So, go upto the File menu and choose to Save As command and I'll go ahead and call this guy something like New Displacement Map, but I have one for you, if you want to use it, this one that's called Liquid displace.psd right there.
But in any case you can go and save off your own and make sure that the file format is psd. It has to be. You can't use any other file format for this, and then go ahead and click on the Save button in order to save out that displacement map. Now switch back to your file in progress here, switch back to the Layers panel, press Ctrl+D or Command+D on the Mac to deselect the image, click on the Wood layer to make it active and let's go ahead and turn this guy into a Smart Object by bringing up the Layers panel fly-out menu and choosing Converts to Smart Object.
And then what you want to do is go up to the Filter menu choose to Distort and choose Displace, and I came over these values here. You don't want the Horizontal scale value to be anything, so it should be 0. The Vertical scale value you can adjust to suit the image at hand, in the case of this image, a value of 4 works very nicely, and then you can just leave the other options set to their defaults, then click OK. And now, you want to go ahead and find that file you just saved, in my case it's called New Displacement Map, and then click Open in order to apply that displacement map, and now you can see how it's distorting the word.
One problem though I'll go ahead and zoom in here into 100%. You can see how the wood is starting to distort before it gets inside of the water, and of course, that's not right. We want to create a filter mask but we don't want the existing filter mask that's just going to get in our way. So, right-click on that right filter mask right there and choose Delete Filter mask, and then Ctrl+Click or Command+Click on the Drops layer to reload that selection there. And now right-click in the word Smart filter and choose Add Filter Mask and that will go ahead and mask the way the distortion outside of the water droplets, so you're only distorting the wood inside the liquid.
And that's all there is to it. You've now managed to create a refraction effect, using a Custom Displacement Map, here inside Photoshop.
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